Sint Maarten

21 June, 2015

I found a hotel room, dumped my stuff and went out on the town. I was going to go to Lees, a locally recommended place, for supper, but I saw the yacht club on the way and a woman said hi to me. She was really nice and a sailor. We chatted and she said she was going to meet another friend - she said I was welcome to tag along. We took her dinghy over to another dock and met her friend and then a whole bunch of other friends and it was lovely, drinking and chatting and laughing and drinking and drinking and meeting more people and drinking and then I wandered over to a bar across the street and chatted with one of the young guys that had been at the first bar and then with his friend and then, well, lets just say that I was warned they pour them strong down here. I’m not sure how I got to the picnic table outside the bar in the sand, but I sat there for a long time and well, I thought I had thrown up enough on the boat, but my dear friends, I threw up again… and maybe a few more times, but time was really gone weird. I wasn't sure I could walk back to my hotel - I knew I had to try, but I just needed more time - guess it wouldn't be too bad to lay on the bench and fall asleep on the beach, no really must get back to my room. I am not one of these people that has a glass of wine every day, I have the equivalent amount, but usually do it all in one go. 

I felt a hand on my shoulder. He had a bicycle and was probably about 25 or 30 years old. He was a rough looking guy, the kind that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, the kind that you would check that you still had your wallet after you shook hands. He asked me if I was ok and if I needed help. I just nodded. He asked me where I my room was and he took me back. He stopped on the way and helped me buy a club soda and I drank it. He took me back to my room and he gave me a hug. You could see he wanted a lot more (lots more), but he was a gentleman about it. I wish I had his name so I could thank him. It is nice to meet an angel. So many times we judge people based on our own fears and assumptions. People are generally good. People generally do the right thing and, I mean, you don't have to test that theory out by doing stupid things, but we have to stop fearing so much.

View from my hotel window

Simpson Bay

22 June, 2015

I woke up a little groggy. Ok, I woke up and drank a lot of water - because I don’t care how much I drank - I am not dealing with a hangover. And, I didn't get one. It would have been well deserved of course. 

I went for an early morning walk, and then had breakfast at the little hotel cafe. It was pretty good, except for the fresh squeezed juice… It tasted like they added sucralose - I asked the guy if he added sweetener, but he said that is was natural - just squeezed juice… still tasted like sucralose.

It was pouring rain and I ended up just chatting with a guy and his female friend from Texas who missed his cruise from Miami because his plane was delayed  and had to fly here to catch the boat.

I did head down to the beach at the end of the airport runway. I didn't realize that this is the place where you have to go watch the planes come in - they go waaaay to close! You can hang on to the fence when the planes take off and be blown away by the wind coming out of the jet engines! I did it all. Yes, it was cool. 

I decided all I really wanted for lunch was an ice cream cone, and then all too soon, It was time to get my bags and head to the airport. I wished I had a little more time here, but, I didn't really want to pay the money for the extra nights anyway. I took my bags outside to wait for the little local bus to go to the airport. A car pulled over and a woman asked where I was headed. I told her and she offered me a ride. She was lovely, and we sat outside the airport in the pouring rain chatting for about half an hour before I decided I really should go check in - really didn't want to miss my flight on my second attempt. 

Check in, customs, take off all your shoes and belts and walk through the scanners and find my gate. What to do for an hour and a half before the plane takes off. There is free wifi at the airport, but of course not anywhere that there is a chair to sit on - just in the middle of the hallway outside of the liquor store… I was looking for something to eat - not the best selection of options in airports. I saw a woman looking at the almond milk, so I mentioned to her about the article that someone posted recently about almond milk not always containing so many almonds and often being no more than a chemical construct similar to artificial sweeteners. The almond milk had beautiful packaging, but it’s first ingredient was sugar, and it didn't actually list almonds as an ingredient - just almond extract… she was aghast, and said she would definitely do her research on that one. We talked for the hour - she is an amazing person - worked for the UN - diplomacy etc - now runs her own business finding foreign investment opportunities in Africa. 

Her flight left just before mine, and I decided to grab a quiche to tide me over, as the ice cream sugar high was starting to fade. It was surprisingly good. I asked at the gate if it was possible to get a vegetarian meal on the flight and they looked at me. “You in firs calass?” “no” “Then you don gonna get no meal honey”. They all laughed good naturally and I smiled and said “well that solves that problem” and we all laughed together. 

I was the last person to board the airplane. I have no idea why everyone wants to be first - I mean I guess if you have big carry on suitcases and want them near you… but I mean your seat is reserved and the back of the plane isn't going to take off before the front anyway, and do you really want to be sitting in that cramped little space for an extra half hour while everyone else gets on.

The lady beside me was freezing - the plane was exceptionally well air conditioned. I leant her my shirt to put over her until they found a blanket for her.

They started all the engines and checked all the flaps and retracted the gate and checked more things and clicked on air conditioning and everyone was seated and did the emergency briefing and obviously the pilots were still not done their checks. The air conditioning was coming out of the vents and overhead compartments above me in visible jet streams of vapour. I found that a little odd. I guess it’s because of the humidity here? It was 4:27. The plane was supposed to leave at 4:20. Well, of course after an hour on the ground or so, we get the announcement that the flight is cancelled, so they can repair the airplane. I was soooooo disappointed. 

They put us all up in a mid-class all inclusive - so nice, so happy, another day to recover in Paradise! I came to the Sonesta Maho and kicked back and sallied up to that buffet bar. The room came with a full bottle of Gordon’s and one of Smirnoff, as well as anything you could pour down yourself at any one of their happy little beach bars. However, after my experience the first night here, I stuck with water. I only like to do that once a year. I did have a lovely supper and great conversations with people. I ate so much fresh fruit and vegetables - Really miss that when you don't have so much of it.

They come in low

When they take off, you can stand on the beach and literally be blown into the ocean by their jets...

23 June, 2015 -  Tuesday

Woke up early, and decided that I am not going anywhere today. People pay good money to stay in resorts and relax. I don't need to traipse around the island looking at ruined forts and cliffs over blue water. I found out one of my friends is here on the island, but she is staying on the other side of the island at another resort. it would have been fun to hook up and have some drinks together, but have to leave today. Have to end this adventure. Unless my flight is cancelled again…

My Free Resort:)

Planes landing from my window!
Salsa Dancing Show at the resort